Last weekend’s warm weather was well-received by local anglers. Many took advantage of the 80-plus temperatures on Easter Sunday by casting their lines instead of taking a stroll on the boardwalk. The wind might have spoiled a flat ride on the water, but surf fishing was quite enjoyable.
Although temps have come down during the week, fish are being caught at a steady pace, and spring fishing is setting up nicely.
Tammie Carbohn of Avalon Hodge Podge reported that fish continue to move into the area. She said there are schools of slammer blues up to 15 pounds, mostly being caught in the surf near the Eighth Street jetty in Avalon. They are being caught on both bait and artificials, including mullet and a various metal lures. Carbohn said smaller striped bass in the 14- to 17-inch range are being hooked using clam or Bass Assassin plastics at the jetty.
Irv Hurd, captain of the Miss Avalon docked in Avalon, said he experienced some excellent fishing last weekend. He said the blackfish bite was the best of the season, with the water warming up to 51 degrees. Renee Troxol, of Collegeville, Pennsylvania, fishing onboard the Miss Avalon, is the tautog leader so far this season with a 5.85-pound blackfish. Troxol also boated two blackfish over 5 pounds.
Ray Szulczewski, a fly angler who captains the Tide Runner out of Cape May, launched his boat last week for the first time this season and tried some fishing during an outgoing tide. He took on the beachfront, where he usually catches fish this time of the year, and said he found the water dirty due to the beach replenishment. Because of the conditions, he changed it up and did some incoming tide fishing and caught a couple of small stripers and nice bluefish, losing one blue to a bite-off.
Brian Hatz, of Egg Harbor Township, an avid angler and the moderator of the Mainland Regional High School Fishing Club, said he anxiously awaited the start of striper fishing on March 1. He recalled that the weather wasn’t optimal; he and his crew fished from midnight until 8 a.m. and managed to land only some 20- to 24-inch bass.
Under the moonlight, the usual haunts have been holding decent-sized fish the past six weeks, he said, with keeper-size fish showing up the past two. Hatz said the outgoing tide seems to be the hottest, but the direction and strength of the wind has been the biggest factor.
The daytime bite has been picking up since the start of April, and the sod banks have been crowded with anglers of all ages tossing out bloodworms to test their luck, Hatz said. While most of the bass are smaller, a few nice keepers have been picked out of the masses.
The spring season kicked off for the Mainland Fishing Club April 9 with its first annual Trout Tournament at Birch Grove Park in Northfield. The fishing wasn't on fire, reported Hatz, but junior Jake Dill caught a nice-sized rainbow trout on a black and yellow rooster tail.
The Mainland Fishing Club, which has 30 members this year, plans to visit various fishing locations in the next few months in search of fish.
Captain John Sowerby of Hooked Up II out of Cape May, who is still wintering in Florida, said he will be ready to start black drum fishing around May 10, which will be the new moon, which always makes for interesting fishing.
William “Bucktail Willie” Shillingford reported back after attending last week’s New Jersey Marine Council meeting April 13. The main topic again was the new summer flounder quotas proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
New Jersey representatives to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have filed an appeal and are asking the commission to reconsider its vote to significantly reduce the state recreational-fishing quota for summer flounder this year.
The commission approved a 34 percent quota reduction in February. DEP Commissioner Bob Martin stated in a press release that they are appealing the decision because of the numerous process, data, policy and regulatory issues that will impact New Jersey’s fishing industry.
Shillingford said New Jersey has voted to go out of compliance in 2017, but there are several potential options on the table. The next New Jersey Marine Council meeting for May is now on hold and will not be scheduled until after the May 11 decision. He said that regardless of the decision, New Jersey will likely open the season before or on Memorial Day weekend.
Shillingford has done some fishing and found fluke over 18 inches, which were all released. He said April always produces the largest fluke on average, but anyone who catches one must release it to stay within the law.
Before casting a line this season, all anglers must inquire about the free saltwater fishing registration. See countmyfish.noaa.gov or call 888-674-7411 to find out if a license is needed to fish a desired species. Print out the certificate and keep in on your person while fishing. Stop in any bait and tackle shop for more details.
Fishing reports and photos can be emailed to Heather Holtzapfel James at email@example.com. Reports must be in by Sunday evening of each week.
Tide Chart Week of April 21
|Ventnor||AM Low||AM High||PM Low||PM High|
|Ocean City||AM Low||AM High||PM Low||PM High|
|Wildwood||AM Low||AM High||PM Low||PM High|